Houses without central air exist throughout the United States, even here in St. Louis. If you don’t have an air conditioner system, you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’ll have to install window unit air conditioners every summer and take them out every fall. You’ll also have to find a place to safely store all the window units in the off-seasons. What a headache!
Luckily, there are solutions to these problems that may fit your situation and your budget! Have you heard of a mini-split AC?
A mini-split AC, sometimes just referred to as a mini-split, is a cooling system that lets you control the temperatures in individual rooms or areas, without the bulk and frustration of a portable window air conditioning unit.
Mini-split systems have two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser (just like a regular central air conditioning system) and an indoor air-handling unit (an evaporator). They’re easy to install and only require about a 3-inch hole through a wall for the conduit, which is where your mini-split AC gets its power and houses communication cables, tubing, and a drain line to link the indoor and outdoor units.
The evaporator unit is mounted to an inside wall of your home, usually up high toward the ceiling, and the condenser is mounted outside. You may need multiple mini-split AC units if you’re cooling multiple areas of your home. Mini-splits can also heat your home!
Mini-split units are great choices in a variety of situations. Meyer Heating & Air have compiled several benefits here, but we’re always happy to evaluate your home and your needs to help you choose the right air conditioner that’s right for you.
In place of window air conditioner units. Larger window units are expensive to buy, costing hundreds of dollars, and are a pain to install, uninstall, maintain, and store. Homes without central air tend to rely on window air conditioners because installing ducts for central air (especially in homes with radiant heat or baseboard heat) is cost-prohibitive for most homeowners and requires a full upgrade of their system. The use of strategically-placed mini-split ACs throughout a home ends the struggle with window unit air conditioners. They also can make multi-family housing more appealing to potential renters, because tenants don’t have to buy their own window units.
For houses in place of installing a new central air unit. If your central air conditioning system needs a full replacement, you’re looking at a pricey bill from any HVAC company. If you live in a small house, or if you live in a large house but don’t use all the space in it, you might consider having mini-split ACs installed instead. You can target the rooms you want to cool, or purchase only a couple for each area of your smaller home. Multi-room mini-split AC systems also are available!
For house additions. If you added onto your home but didn’t extend the ducts of your existing HVAC system into the new room, you’ll need to be able to heat and cool your added square footage without straining your existing equipment. A mini-split unit is perfect for the job because it provides the temperature control you need and is simple to install in nearly any area of your house.
To customize temperatures in individual rooms. If half your family is hot and half your family is not, how do you come up with a happy medium? Or, if you only want to cool certain rooms during the day, how often do you really want to open and close vents every time you enter or leave the room? The obvious solution here is a mini-split AC installation! A mini-split AC unit lets you cool individual rooms in your home to satisfy the needs of every member of the family.
For standalone office spaces, guest cottages, and she sheds. If you’re lucky enough to have a she shed or other awesome outbuilding in your backyard, you could consider cooling (and heating!) this space with a mini-split! You can turn it off and on when you need to without adding ductwork.
For efficient cooling. Mini-split systems don’t require ductwork, so they don’t lose energy associated with the ductwork of central forced air systems. These energy losses are up to 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning, especially if the ducts run through spaces that aren’t temperature controlled or adequately insulated (like unfinished attics and basements).
Mini-split AC units are the perfect solution in a lot of cases. However, they also come with their disadvantages, which should not be ignored when considering how you can upgrade your cooling system for humid St. Louis summers.
Cost. Mini-split systems’ average cost nationwide is about $1,500–$2,000 per 12,000 BTUs. This costs about 30% more than central air systems (not including installing ductwork). They also far exceed the cost of window units.
Appearance. Some people might not find mini-splits to be aesthetically pleasing. The indoor part of the system is mounted up high on the wall or on a ceiling and can be visually obtrusive. They will never have the built-in look of a ducted, central air conditioning system.
Regardless of the air conditioning system you choose, even window units, you will have to perform maintenance tasks on them to keep them running in top condition. If you can’t perform all the maintenance tasks yourself, you will need to contact a professional heating and cooling technician to do it for you. This includes maintenance for mini-split AC units! No system is maintenance-free or guaranteed to never need repairs.
Meyer Heating and Air is your complete air conditioning, heating, and energy-saving expert in the greater St. Louis area. Give us a call at 314-845-1929 to discuss your air conditioning options for your home in Ballwin, Chesterfield, and O’Fallon before the heat of summer sets in.
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